Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Summer Camp for "Adults"

The parallels between summer camp and summer field are many; perpetual outdoor living in an isolated setting, grappling with adversity, and of course, plenty of costuming. For years, dress-up day has been a tradition for the last day of mapping, but this group enjoyed a few extra dress-up days, usually related to kitchen duty. The cooks were instrumental in providing a costume closet to go along with themed dinners, but the real pièce de résistance was a magnificent hair extension. Found among the boxes of stuff from last year, the cooks attached it to a pole on the study tent. By itself, it looks like a muskrat. On others, it became a wise guru’s beard, a two-toned mullet, or Genie’s high ponytail.
(Genie Matt granting wishes)

The most elaborate theme dinner was Thanksgiving with the Ferguson’s – UCLA came by for dinner, brought the beer and participated in pudding wrestling. I don’t think that kiddie pool will ever be the same.
(Melatite and K-T boundary as troubled teen and Janis Joplin)

To keep the students from getting burned out on mapping, there are a couple of unrelated field trips thrown in; this year’s theme was mining. Since eastern California and Nevada are hot beds of interesting mineral assemblages (Q: what is a pirate’s favorite metamorphic assemblage? A: Skarn!), there are a lot of abandoned mines and mining towns.
(fractured xenoliths in the skarn outcrop)

So, we looked for minerals, everyone wanted to bring home their own pieces of smoky quartz, garnet and vesuvianite and we checked out Goldpoint, a former mining town that has been bought and is slowly being converted to a tourist destination. Apparently, they just filmed the movie “Blood River” there in case you’re curious.
(obligatory white van caravan in Goldpoint)
(old bugs, old town)

And finally, folks finished up mapping, had a fabulous dress-up day complete with gnomes and many in drag, and they spent 2 days in camp finishing off the maps, cross sections and reports.
(see? gnomes)
(Mel contemplates faults while waiting for someone to write on her Wall)

Overall, this was one of the best TA experiences I’ve ever had, in no small part due to how incredible this group of students was. Fun, friendly, hard-working and smart; can’t ask for much more than that!
(one shot devoted to my favorite sed structure of all time, Hummocky cross stratification!)


Fault Rocks said...

any of those gifted mappers looking for graduate work in the cape fold belt? and independently wealthy, since I can't pay foreigners from research funding?

kes said...

I'll put the word out at the potluck tonight. There are a few adventurous souls. And maybe they could even get their own funding.....

Fault Rocks said...

I can promise lots of Axial Planar Cleavage.